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Burnout is not a badge of honour: How to spot the five stages of burnout

In a traditional work environment, there is a clear distinction between work and your personal life, enabling people to separate the two and relax in their home environment. However, with more people now working from home than ever before, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for people to switch off from work when they have finished for the day. This difficulty means more people are experiencing burnout while working from home. 

In a study by Capterra, 54% of respondents said that stress increased when working from home due to there being no separation between work and personal life.

This article from business support platform Rovva will define the five stages of burnout and what you can do to avoid it.

What is burnout?

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines burnout as “a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”. Burnout can be caused by anything that makes a person feel exhausted or overwhelmed. 

The term ‘burnout’ was first coined by Herbert Freudenberger in 1974, who defined burnout as “the extinction of motivation or incentive, especially where one’s devotion to a cause of relationship fails to produce the desired results.”

Burnout can affect anyone at any stage of their career. A 2020 Micro Biz Mag study found that of 1,000 adults surveyed in the UK, 22% have experienced job-related burnout. Business owner burnout is particularly common, especially in the early stages of a startup. Small business owners might feel like they need to work long hours to ensure their business gets off to a great start. However, this level of overworking can contribute to burnout and have the opposite effect.

What are the 5 stages of burnout at work?

While burnout can be caused by several factors, and each person’s experience is different, there are generally five stages a person will go through before they experience burnout. 

Honeymoon Phase

The first stage of burnout is often experienced when a person starts a new job. With high levels of enthusiasm and commitment, driven employees will use their energy, ambition and desire to succeed to push through the demands and challenges of a new role. 

Many people are also keen to impress at this stage, which means they will go above and beyond to show their capabilities. However, this can eventually lead to stress as a person undertakes more taxing tasks. 

The employee and their manager need to implement positive coping mechanisms, like ensuring they feel part of a team, especially when working from home. By finding methods for coping with stress, they could remain in the honeymoon phase without progressing onto burnout. 

The Onset of Stress

After the honeymoon phase, people may start to experience the onset of stress. This is also known as the balancing act, where people feel like they’re juggling several tasks. 

Stress is prevalent in any job and industry, but if you don’t learn to manage stress early on, it can lead to burnout and severely impact your professional and personal life. Some industries experience more stress than others, including government, telecoms, media and marketing. However, this doesn’t mean it’s acceptable. 

Once the excitement of a new job has started to disappear, people may begin to notice aspects of their job they dislike. This might manifest itself as days that feel more stressful or decreased levels of optimism. 

There are several signs associated with the onset of stress, including fatigue, work inefficiency, job dissatisfaction or avoidance of certain tasks. Occasionally, a person might also experience sleep disturbances or neglect of personal needs. Team leaders should look out for early signs of stress so they can provide additional support.

Chronic Stress

The chronic stress stage of burnout closely follows the onset of stress, with many of the same symptoms appearing or continuing. However, they are usually more intense and can accompany more physical symptoms. 

Chronic exhaustion is a tell-tale sign, as well as stress-induced physical illness, anger and depression. There is usually a marked change in a person’s mental health, with a lack of motivation and stress taking centre stage.

Burnout (Crisis Stage)

Every person has a breaking point, and this is especially true when it comes to stress and burnout. Once a person has been through the chronic stress stage, it’s only a matter of time before they enter the crisis stage. 

The signs of burnout are much more physical than the symptoms of the other stages. People experiencing burnout will often feel empty, separated from their life and as though they have lost control. It’s difficult for them to continue with any form of normality, so it’s crucial to seek intervention. 

Habitual Stress (Enmeshment)

When someone has experienced burnout and has not sought professional help, they might move into the habitual stress stage. This is when a person has taken on so many burnout symptoms that they have become embedded in their life. 

People with habitual burnout may not fully realise they have it and will usually be at greater risk of developing chronic long term illnesses. Employers and managers need to recognise when a person is experiencing professional burnout. This can be particularly difficult if remote work is a large part of your organisation’s culture, so ensure you schedule plenty of video calls and informal catch-ups with your team to look for signs.

How to avoid work from home burnout

With an increase of remote workers and home offices, the lines of the workplace feel more blurred. More people are working long hours because they don’t have a commute, and some are even working weekends because they find it difficult to switch off. A study by TOG recently found that 51% of respondents had been working outside of their typical working hours since lockdown and working from home.  

It’s more important than ever to learn coping mechanisms that can help to avoid burnout. Some things you can do to avoid work from home burnout include:

·  Create a dedicated working space and ensure you only use this area for work

·  Don’t travel around the house with your laptop, as this can make traditionally relaxing spaces feel like working areas

·  Take regular breaks

·  Structure your day like you would in the office – leave your desk for screen breaks, have lunch away from your desk and finish on time

·  Remember to take your annual leave

·  Maintain face-to-face contact by popping into the office if you can, meeting colleagues socially, or using a flexible office space

·  Connect with your colleagues via video calls – a Lifesize study found that 89% of users said video conferencing with their teams helped them feel more connected

·  Ensure you get enough sleep by minimising screen time and social media. You could also do something relaxing before bed like meditation, crafting or reading

·  Get fresh air and break up the day by going for a walk at lunchtime

·  Ask for help when you need it 

·  Look out for the symptoms of burnout and put coping mechanisms in place

Burnout could affect anyone at any time, no matter what your role is. Therefore, it’s important to do everything you can to ensure no one in your organisation feels exhausted with work. Establishing a remote work culture is a good place to start as it ensures your home-workers feel as much a part of the team as they did in the office.

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Industry Field Service Is Reshaping How The Home Market Will Be Managed

Mark Wilding is Vice President Global Customer Transformation at ServiceMax.

“Working from home” never used to be an option for repair technicians, but even they have adapted. What’s perhaps more interesting is that the changes taking place in the field service industry today are already shaping how products are serviced in our home in future.

While the pandemic accelerated technology adoption, it also created another animal – rising customer expectation. As so many products and services went virtual, it fuelled an instant gratification gene in people, where the notion of waiting for anything to be fixed suddenly became unacceptable. Most organizations were faced with two choices – shrug (virtually of course) and carry on as normal or try and meet those expectations using new technologies to enable touchless and self-services.

Undoubtedly this has changed a few things. It’s certainly changed attitudes to the value of field service and the on-going challenges it faces. As McKinsey wrote in an article recently, “services matter in every industry, both as a direct source of value and as an enabler of value creation.” The field service role in customer experience and loyalty that has become more prominent.

Virtual first, physical second rapidly became the default service approach for many organizations at the industry level – a policy that remains in place for most. Thanks to technology, remote eyes on the asset enable arm’s length triage so if an engineer is required, they arrive on site with insight and intelligence about the issue. In this way, remote service has significantly enhanced on-site service, rather than being a poor virtual substitute.

Forefront of Change

And it’s trickling down into consumer life. The pandemic accelerated it, but it’s been coming for some time. Field service teams have been at the forefront of changing attitudes, with engineers tasked with customer service roles and upselling, as well, of course, fixing faulty parts and machines. With more homes and offices connected through increasingly reliable broadband, and more wide spread interconnectivity and smart automation all around us,  we have seen the rise in IoT devices and in turn, the rise in remote servicing of these products – interestingly, global spending on IoT products is forecast to reach $1.1 trillion in 2023. The challenge now for field service teams, is how to meet the rising expectations of customers in an increasingly touchless world?

As a recent World Economic Report claims, homes are indeed getting smarter – over 130 million households are now home to at least one smart speaker while 77 million have a digital security camera – and with that smartness comes both the need and ability to enable remote servicing. For the manufacturers this also means change at their end as well. Service considerations must be baked into products at the design level. Service cannot be an afterthought.

What this means for field service teams is a rapid shift in how the home market is managed. It’s part of a wider trend, kickstarted during the pandemic, of an end-to-end contactless experience for consumers. Remote service, either augmented or via video calls or even self-service tools will continue to grow in importance but also in capability. The technology is improving rapidly, to enable automated, remote diagnostics, for example. What this means is that more than ever before, field service engineers will have up-to-date data on devices and products in our homes, including breakdowns, required parts and inventory availability – in short, complete oversight of product status and the needs of the customer.

We’ve already seen this in industry. The remote-first acceleration of field service in B2B and industrial services holds the blueprint for how domestic and B2C services are delivered in the home in the next few years. It’s a natural trickle-down effect. Also, given this increasing touchless nature of business relationships with customers, field service teams may be the only person from the company that customers actually meet in person. More than ever before, field engineers will be the public face of brands.

As more items in the home become more connected, we’ll see more proactive interaction from OEMs and more IoT interaction with the user to effectively address technical issues. Consumers will become the first line of service thanks to technology. Soon, almost all products will be designed for service. A manufacturer can help you diagnose the problem remotely, then send you the required part you that plug in while set up is done in the background. This minimizes need for service visits which are most of cost.

This of course impacts required skills and training, as well information sharing and connectivity. Communication will be key, not just to get products repaired but to do it in a way that looks after the customer journey. Professional field service best practice is now spilling into domestic life, and this will continue over the next five years. Field service teams must adapt and use the tools at their disposal to ensure good customer experience.

The advances we’re seeing in field service management today are shaping the future of service across multiple industries and are paving the way for consumer service in our homes. Far-greater network availability and capability will drive broad shifts in the business landscape, from the digitization of manufacturing through wireless control of mobile tools, machines and appliances.

Until then, as field service teams move forward into a continuously remote-first world of high consumer expectations, understanding what does and doesn’t work in the eye of those consumers will become increasingly key to successful experiences.

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Keeping pets protected during heatwaves this summer

We’ve been lucky to have been hit with some great weather this summer, however, some days have been exceptionally hot and causing us discomfort to the point where we don’t want to leave the house! Our pets can also struggle in this heat and if not looked after correctly, can lead to life threatening issues for them. 

Dr. Sarah Machell, Medical Director for Vetster, has shared her top five top tips to ensure that our pets can enjoy the summer days as much as we can.

Vetster, is a digital platform that connects licensed vets with pet owners virtually, with 24/7 online appointments, launches in the UK this summer.

1.  Provide adequate rest, shade, and ventilation

Coping with high temperatures and humidity is tough enough on its own, but it’s even more difficult for pets who are exercising in direct sunlight and don’t have adequate ventilation. Limit outdoor activities to early mornings and late evenings when it’s cooler. When walking your pet, choose shady routes off the pavement.  Ensure outdoor pets have shady, ventilated places to escape the heat.  Keep in mind that pets also rely on evaporation for cooling, regardless of if they sweat like horses or pant like dogs, and high humidity decreases the effect of evaporation. This means your pet needs you to keep an eye on the heat index for them as well as for you.  Be sure your pets have easy access to a steady supply of clean water. Pets are naturally wired to stay hydrated as long as they are healthy and avoid heavy exercise in the heat, so there’s no need to try to encourage your pet to drink more.  Just make sure the water supply is in easy reach and doesn’t run dry. 

 2. Be wary of paws on the hot pavement! 

When the weather gets extremely hot, so does the pavement—asphalt, in particular. If you’re taking your dog out for a walk, try to remember that they don’t have shoes to protect against the heat. Even though paw pads are extremely tough, hot surfaces can burn them. Consider using padded booties for their paws to create a barrier between paw pads and the hot concrete.  Better yet, try to steer clear of the streets and walk on the cool grass instead. If there’s an opportunity to wade through some clean water or catch the spray from a sprinkler, that’s even better. Remember that pavement retains heat and you still need to be aware of the risks when you go for walks in the evening.

3. Look out for signs of heatstroke 

Heatstroke is a very serious condition and one to look out for in your pets. As a pet parent, it’s important to be aware of your pet’s fitness level and avoid overexertion when the weather’s too hot or humid. Less athletic dogs, dogs with underlying illnesses, and brachycephalic breeds are at higher risk for developing heatstroke, so keep an extra close eye on them. Heatstroke is life-threatening, but it can be avoided if you take action to cool your pet when they show early signs of heat stress. If your dog doesn’t want to keep walking, lies down in the shade, or digs up cool dirt to lie in, those are clues they’re getting too hot.  Excessive panting that doesn’t improve after a short rest is another indicator. Get out of the heat and offer water to keep the threat of heatstroke from escalating.  Splash down hot ears, paws, and bellies with water to achieve more rapid cooling.

4 Never leave your pet unattended in a hot vehicle 

Heatstroke can happen in the blink of an eye—it cannot be stressed enough that you should never, ever leave your pet unattended in a vehicle. This is true even if you leave the windows down for fresh air or if you think you’ll only be gone for a few minutes. Studies show that even if the outdoor temperature is 72℉ (22°C), a car can rise up to 117℉ (47°C) in only an hour. Imagine how quickly a car can become dangerously hot when outdoor temperatures are a balmy 86℉ (30°C). Even if you’re leaving your car unattended for a minute or think that leaving a window open will help – the life-or-death gamble you’re taking isn’t worth it.

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5 Reasons To Consider Going Into ‘Unretirement’

Mike Reid, Founder and Chairman of Goldster

As Cameron Diaz turns 50 this August, the retired Hollywood star is set to make a comeback in the new Netflix comedy, ‘Back in Action’, alongside co-star Jamie Foxx. Diaz has been out of the spotlight for eight years, so why did she come out of retirement and jump back into acting?
For us non-A list celebrities, retirement is typically seen as a midday game of golf, cream tea, and long days in the garden. But what if the idea of ‘taking it easy’ isn’t for you? You’re certainly not alone, and it might be time to consider instead going into ‘unretirement’. Mike Reid, Founder and Chairman of Goldster, a digital platform created to inspire over 50s to lead a more active and fulfilling life, shares five reasons why many retirees are rejecting the idea of sitting back, and instead returning to work or exploring new interests:

  1. Itchy Feet
    Currently, the UK age for retirement is 66, while life expectancy is 79 for men and 83 for women. This means the average British female spends 17 years in retirement – that’s over 6,200 days – which is a long time considering it’s not unusual to start feeling a bit twitchy during a two-week holiday at the beach!
    Instead of spending some of the greatest years of your life twiddling your thumbs while the years slip by, why not get yourself back out there to keep your mind, body and soul occupied – all the while making extra friends, picking up additional skills and earning some extra cash along the way.
  2. Healthy mind
    The Goldster team has discovered that maintaining a strong cognitive state can support healthy ageing, and that ‘going to work’ can be hugely beneficial. It’s a myth that giving up and retiring at 66 is the best move for everyone. In fact, experts often advise doing the opposite and embracing new roles and experiences at this age. Even if you don’t want to return to the office, taking classes, developing new hobbies and interests, and challenging yourself every day can make you feel good, especially when the brain gets to enjoy a rigorous workout.
    You can strengthen your mind with something as simple as picking out a new book, or really stretch your limits by taking up art, creative writing or even learning a new language. Whatever you decide to pursue, make sure it’s something you enjoy and not something you’ll start to see as a chore. Really not connecting with those French lessons? There’s no shame in saying “au revoir” and trying something else out instead.
  3. Emotional Wellbeing
    We believe there are multiple reasons why an increasing number of people are deciding to clock back on and clock-off from ‘taking it easy.’ Socialising, interacting and carrying out tasks all help boost self-confidence. In the UK, 1.4 million people over the age of 65 are often lonely, according to Age UK. Did you know that loneliness is now widely recognised as a major problem? Going back to work can help with loneliness and avoiding long-term depression.
    Working also helps maintain a routine. It’s a well-known fact that we’re creatures of habit and routines deliver a structure, promoting health and wellness. Stress management, good health, and better sleep are all benefitted by a routine: taking a job or classes with regular schedules, or even creating your own activity calendar and trying your best to stick to it, can be hugely beneficial.
  4. Physical Benefits
    Unretiring helps you explore interests that you might feel had already passed you by, and perhaps you’d even like to try something more physical than what you’re used to. There are many jobs and activities that get you up and about, and even something so simple as spending more time on your feet instead of sitting down can be greatly beneficial to your health.
    While you’re in this physical mood, you could even pick out a new sport or hobby too. Maybe you’ve always wanted to give yoga a try, or you used to dance the night away but haven’t done so for a while. Your 50s are the time for you to do what you love. Of course, it doesn’t have to be anything too strenuous: something low-impact like thai chi or a gentle stroll might be more your thing.
  5. Income boost
    According to Government statistics, one-third of all workers in the UK are over the age of 50, and a large study undertaken in 2017 found that a quarter of retirees changed their minds and headed back to work, usually within five years of having clocked-off.
    Income was found to a be major motivation – 50% who chose to unretire were still paying off their mortgages. With all the benefits to your mental and physical health that getting back to work brings, earning some extra money is also a huge and welcome advantage. Why stay at home when you could be earning a few bob and saving enough to take that extra special holiday you’ve been thinking about or buying something nice for your loved ones?

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